Millions of voters in Argentina braved heavy rains on Sunday to weigh in on what the South American nation should look like after the departure of President Cristina Fernandez, a polarizing leader who spent heavily on programs for the poor but failed to solve myriad economic problems. Voters cast ballots in open primaries for presidential candidates who had all but sealed the nominations in their respective parties, making the exercise essentially a giant national poll ahead of the Oct. 25 elections. Because of the rains and flooding in some streets in the greater Buenos Aires area, several polling places were relocated during the day.
With 10 percent of ballots counted late Sunday, Fernandez’s successor candidate Daniel Scioli was leading with 36 percent of the vote. Mauricio Macri led opposition candidates with 30 percent while Sergio Massa garnered 23 percent. Final results were expected on Monday.
The nation known for its soccer players, tango dancing and choice beef is struggling with myriad economic problems. Independent analysts put inflation at over 30 percent and the Argentine peso has slid sharply against the American dollar in recent months. A long-standing dispute with U.S. hedge funds that Fernandez calls “vultures” has kept foreign investors away. Polls show voters deeply divided about how, and who, is best to tackle those issues.